Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Deep End

I'm jumping into the deep end. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to swim there, or at least tread water. No, I'm not taking up swimming, nor am I entering a tri. Nope, I'm taking on a different kind of challenge - an intellectual one. I'm applying to begin work on a Doctorate of Education. Crazy, huh?

Let me tell you, less than a month ago I said that me getting a doctorate was out of the question. No way, no how. Not gonna happen. Then one day a colleague made an off-hand remark about finding a doctoral program that might work while working full time. He suggested that the three of us currently working in our ECE department sign up and get to work on it - kind of a mini-cohort of our own.

The seed was planted. I was excited. Then, over the weekend, I began to have doubts. Would it be possible to have any kind of a life outside of work and study? Would I still be able to run? Would I still be able to race? Did I really want to sign up for three years (or more) of intense work? I'm part time right now, and once a full time position opens up, my current education and experience gives me a very good shot at it. I don't really need a doctorate. It doesn't increase my potential salary much (at least in my current area of work). Is it worth it? Heck, I'm 52 years old. I'd be 55 when I finish - that's kind of late isn't it?

I started soliciting advice. Eric gave me his whole hearted support. He's been encouraging me to do this for years, but I've been reluctant. I asked Dr. Sarah and she told me I liked to do hard things and should go for it. I asked Marie, who recently returned to school to become a Nurse Practitioner. She just finished her first set of classes and I wanted to know how she did it. She was encouraging. I asked Margaret, deep in the midst of her MBA program. She offered wisdom that really moved me forward. She told me that things don't stay the same, and that the more tools I have in my tool box, the better I'd be. She talked to me about how it would open up so many options for me, and if nothing else, the intrinsic value of education makes it worth it. She mentioned a change in world view and simply being better at what I do. I thought about my age, and how I've never wanted age to be a barrier to anything I do, so why was I even thinking about that? Today my colleagues and I went to lunch to discuss it. When we left, I knew I was going to go for it.

I've started the application process, filling out forms, requesting transcripts and letters of recommendation. If I get in, I'm hoping to start next fall. I'm hoping I can keep a semblance of balance in my life, and I'm hoping that my running holds steady. I'm also hoping that this is where marathon and ultra running pays off - that the mental toughness required to keep moving when I am really tired, depleted, hurting, or just down, translates to real life and will help me complete this challenge. That's a whole lotta hope in one bucket!

13 comments:

Anne said...

You can do this! A good dose of hard-headed determination is the key. It's never too late...you know you waaant to :) We'll be right here cheering you on when you need it!

LesleyG said...

What is life without hope and planning and challenge?! I'm so excited for you! Once again, you're an inspiration!

Dori said...

I'm all for education; you never know where it will take you. And you'll be 55 whether you have a doctorate or not, so you might as well have the doctorate. Congratulations and good luck.

P.S. I mailed a picture to you a few weeks ago. Did you ever get it? I looked up your address, but maybe it went to the wrong one.

Thomas said...

Yes, your mental tenacity from ultra running will help you in this task. That's quite a target, good luck with it!

Wes said...

well, I think its a great idea. Life is a little more boring when we stop learning new stuff.

Good luck!!

Anne said...

With your past experience and the lack of children at home, it might be easier than you think to embark on this new journey. Good luck on making that application as attractive as possible - it won't be hard to do for you!

Sarah said...

How exciting! And comparing the challenge to marathons and ultras is right on. You've proved you have the perseverance and determination to do it!

olga said...

Wow, Michelle! This is jumping head first! And you know what, I am totally with all your friends - jump in, girl. Age is NOT an obsticle, and I also always said, the more we have on our plate, the better we manage it. Why choose to waste the brains that can bring so much - and, AND it will bring YOU happiness! Go for it.

Joe said...

WOW!! This is quite a development!

Sure am supportive of this, Michelle. It is a big step and one you'll handle, I'm sure. Eric's support is huge.

And don't let blogging get in the way. If it has to go...let it go. You must make the decisions!!

Scott Keeps Running said...

What a challenge!

I look forward to updates.

Darrell said...

This is very cool. You'll be great at school.

lizzie lee said...

I decided that last year, but the program hasn't opened yet. I had all the application ready with the exception of the GRE.... Will we be able to continue running as much????

craig said...

It will be the best thing you ever did. Well, except for marrying Eric, of course.